Children's tantrums

How can parents understand children's tantrums? The psychologist, psychopedagogue and child psychotherapist Isabelle Filliozat, offers in her book No more tantrums, presented as a comic, the explanations that parents need to better understand children's tantrums and gives us new guidelines to act in a concrete way, according to the age of the child, and overcome without difficulties that difficult period of child behavior between 1 and 5 years of age.

What are the most common behavior problems for children today?
The proliferation of screens, electronic objects and also the huge supply in supermarkets of toys, candies, cakes and drinks, places the child in a world that is difficult for him to manage. So they flare up more often than the old kids. Hyperactivity and attention deficit are the ills of today's society. For one thing, children have fewer opportunities to run and relax. On the other hand, adults instill in them from a very young age the culture of zapping and in addition, they consume more sugars, gluten, colorants and food additives than 20 years ago.

Can a tantrum or a crisis be considered normal in young children?
Yes and no. Some crises are inevitable, and others are avoidable. It is normal to cry when hungry, but let's not let the child be hungry, let's feed him! It is normal tantrum in a child that he still cannot speak when we do not understand his need, and he sees that we are trying to contradict him. It is natural, when a two-year-old child wants so much to be able to do things well and finds that he still cannot do it, for example, when the tower of cubes falls, when he cannot ride a bike, etc.

Then the attitude of the parents should be:
- Avoid situations of excessive simulation or agree to accompany the child in the psychic discharge.
- Teach the words to express feelings.
- Teach the child to negotiate with his brothers and sisters and his companions, teach him to set limits and to enforce them without violence.
- Avoid giving orders and propose options
- Give simple and positive instructions (for example “walk close to me” rather than “don't walk away”)

At what age do tantrums appear and why?
Tantrums appear near 18 months, when the child begins to want to decide for himself and the father does not take that need into account. The tantrums will lessen when the child is able to express himself in words.

What is the cause of children's tantrums?
A necessity, an overload of stimulants (too much noise, too many decisions to make, too many colors, shapes or too many people… a train, a station or a supermarket…), lack of information (they still don't know that it is not written on the walls), parental attitude which puts the child in an impossible situation of double annoyance (the father gives an order, 'put on your boots', the two-year-old does not want to put the boots on until he feels like it). There are also physiological causes: an allergic sensitivity (gluten, sugar, milk ... food intolerances can trigger attacks of anger, brutality, tears, negativity ...) or intoxication (mercury, aluminum ...).

Can you set a time limit for the duration of a tantrum?
Yes, a tantrum is a stress relief situation that lasts only a few minutes. If it is repressed by parents, it can last longer.

Are parents sometimes guilty of their children's irritating behaviors?
Parents are no more guilty than their children. It is not about guilt, but about understanding children's needs, their motivations to act as they do. Children need help and support from parents to mature.

How should parents react to their children's tantrums?
When the father identifies that it is a problem of stimulant overload in the brain, he can hold his son so that he cannot hurt himself, or hurt his father and invite him to scream and argue. So this period is very short, the child screams, his body is very tense, and then he relaxes, some tears fall that are not sadness but a manifestation that the calms the body. And it all ends with a hug. When the tantrum is linked to a frustration, the father may recognize that it is not pleasant to live that frustration without judging the child, the objective is to say words to the child so that he himself learns to express his feelings.

Marisol New.

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